University physician saves student’s life at hockey game

By on November 9, 2016

Freshman Ashlee Baldwin was attending a men’s ice hockey game on Nov. 1 when she suddenly collapsed.

Luckily for Baldwin, the head physician for Quinnipiac sports programs, Dr. Wang, happened to be in the right place at right time when she needed him the most.

Baldwin’s heart stopped because of an arrhythmia, a condition in which the heart beats with an irregular or abnormal rhythm, according to the American Heart Association.

“The hockey game had ended, and I was actually getting ready to leave because the teams did not need me anymore,” Wang said. “A gentleman came into the training room and, in a panicked voice, yelled, ‘We need a medic!’ The hockey athletic trainer, Daniel Smith, and the athletic training students moved quickly to assess the situation and to understand that it was serious with an unresponsive young woman who was in cardiac arrest.”

Baldwin was unconscious and seizing and said she does not remember anything that happened before she woke up in the hospital surrounded by her family.

First responders performed CPR, and one of the students retrieved an automated external defibrillator (AED) quickly.

With the help of the AED, Wang and the others were able to get her heart going again. By the time the ambulance arrived, she had a functional heart rate and blood pressure but was still not awake, according to Wang.

“She was saved by restoring her heartbeat and blood pressure all while keeping perfusion to her body through CPR,” Wang said. “The AED was critical and so was the entire first responder team, which included the sports medicine personnel, the ambulance crew and the fire department.”

Baldwin went back to her hometown of New Canaan, Connecticut after being released from the Yale-New Haven Hospital later that day to rest and recover, and she returned to school Friday, Nov. 4.

Her parents have been supportive and protective post-accident, according to Baldwin.

“They were very supportive of me going back after just a few days out of the hospital to readjust before classes on Monday, but are adamant about me calling and texting every day now,” Baldwin said.

Wang has heard from Baldwin and her family and is relieved to hear she is doing well and has returned to school.

“I am thankful to be a part of such a great institution and be a member of such a quality sports medicine team,” Baldwin said. “The backbone of this team are the athletic trainers and the athletic training program here. First responders and automated external defibrillators can and do save lives, as was demonstrated.”

Wang, the medical staff, Baldwin’s suitemate Michelle Misiti and Misiti’s father all had a hand in saving her life that day.

“I would like to thank Dr. Wang and everyone on the medical staff at York Hill for what they did for me,” Baldwin said. “Without them, I literally would not be here, and I can never thank them enough.”

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